Is There A Statute Of Limitations For Florida Birth Injuries Cases?
When health care providers deliver the news that your newborn has been diagnosed with a disabling medical condition, the conversation will focus on immediate treatment and ongoing care. Physicians are less likely to raise the issue of how your baby’s disability might have been prevented, or whether the birth injuries were the result of medical negligence. Over time, however, you may begin to question the past instead of the future. Years may even go by before you consider conducting an investigation into what happened, so there can be concerns regarding Florida’s statute of limitations. The default rule is that you have two years to file a medical malpractice lawsuit, or you are forever barred from seeking compensation for birth injuries.
Fortunately for parents who delayed looking into their legal options, there are details beyond the default statute of limitations. You may still be able to pursue a negligent provider, and a Miami birth injuries lawyer can advise you on timing. Some background information is also helpful.
Additional Details on Florida’s Statute of Limitations
Knowing that the time restriction is two years, it is important to understand when the clock starts to tick. In many cases, the statute begins to run when the incident occurred, but some birth injuries may not be diagnosed or verified right away. Therefore, Florida law imposes a limitation of two years after the incident is or should have been discovered through diligent investigation. Regardless of this “discovery” rule, the statute of limitations prohibits any case from being filed more than four years after the injury.
You should also note that:
- Beyond your physician, the statute of limitations applies to any other party you might have grounds to sue for birth injuries – including the hospital and other health care workers
- If fraud, concealment of birth injuries, or other misconduct prevented you from discovering the harm to your child, the statute of limitations is extended another two years
- Regardless of fraud and the discovery rule, legal action is barred once seven years have passed after the incident of medical malpractice
- The statute of limitations is NOT tolled while you are engaged in discussions regarding a birth injuries settlement
Statute of Limitations and Actions Related to Minors
Additional provisions of the law apply when the victim of personal injury is a minor, so they will likely be triggered by a birth injury. The four-year limitation imposed by the discovery rule does not bar a lawsuit that parents may bring on behalf of their child before his or her 8th birthday. By taking action within the appropriate timeframe, you may be able to recover for medical bills, pain and suffering, and other losses.
Time is of the Essence to Contact a Florida Birth Injuries Attorney
Though the application of Florida’s statute of limitations may be tolled and/or extended under certain circumstances, you should not delay taking action. To learn more about rights and remedies, please contact Freidin Brown, P.A. We can schedule a free consultation at our offices in Miami or Fort Myers, FL to assess your circumstances.